Extensive PNW testing turns up no more GMO wheat

Extensive PNW testing turns up no more GMO wheat

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have tested 1,900 advanced breeding lines of wheat and more than 20,000 individual wheat plots and did not find any evidence of a herbicide-resistance wheat variety.

Specifically, WSU scientists sprayed infant plants with glyphosate and conducted molecular testing if necessary, trying to detect more RR wheat. None of the plants showed the transgenic glyphosate resistance found in the white wheat field of an as-yet-unnamed eastern Oregon farmer.

WSU’s tests involved wheat varieties developed at WSU, at sister Pacific Northwest universities and by two of the three largest PNW commercial wheat seed companies.

Among them were nearly 50 commercially grown varieties from WSU, the University of Idaho and Oregon State University and 24 varieties from Westbred/Monsanto and Limagrain Cereal Seeds.

Moreover, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said grain tests and interviews with several hundred farmers found no other instances of glyphosate-resistant crops. “WSU undertook its own investigation as part of its commitment to serving Northwest farmers and the agricultural industry as a whole,” said James Moyer, director of WSU’s agricultural research center.

The level of collaboration and cooperation in the WSU testing from Pacific Northwest universities and major industry partners was unprecedented and reflects the common interest and goal of determining whether the genetically modified wheat discovered in Oregon was an isolated case or if the industry had a larger problem. WSU’s data clearly suggests this was an isolated case, Moyer said.

These time-consuming tests only heighten the theory that this was sabotage. How else can one field in the vast sea of PNW wheat become “contaminated” with Roundup Ready wheat?

This isolated field could very likely be sour grapes from one of the many plaintiffs who have sued Monsanto over GMO crops or sabatoge by radical environmentalists.

The sabotage theory is bolstered by the facts:

• The last year Monsanto tested GMO wheat in Oregon was 2001—more than 12 years ago.

• Monsanto did not have any test sites near the find.

• Wheat seed cannot lay dormant in the soil for more than a decade and still germinate.

It is highly unlikely that a bag of conventional wheat seed was inadvertently contaminated by RR wheat. Experimental GMO seed is processed under stringtent, government isolation regulations and the seed companies themselves demand thorough machinery clean-out procedures.

There is another possibility, albeit very remote. The initial testing could have been flawed. Admittedly, this is a stretch since it was a university which initially performed the tests and presumably USDA verified the find with its own round of tests. Additionally, testing is never a one shot deal. Replication is the foundation for all scientific research. We certainly hope the initial tests were not flawed.

It behooves government officials to continue to investigate to find answers to this mystery. World wheat markets are at stake.


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